Any experienced PR practitioner knows that building strong relationships with media is crucial when gaining coverage and new business. Sometimes making the first move can be daunting, especially when there are other people also trying to grab their attention. Below are 5 tips that will assist any PR professional in initiating journalist outreach, ensuring that you can get that head start you’ve been eager to grasp.
Do your homework
Many journalists complain that they often receive information from PR agencies that isn’t relevant to what they typically write about. Before pressing “send”, ensure that it is personalised to the style and coverage of the reporter – this shows them that you’re paying attention!
Embrace social media engagement
In the age of digitalisation and hypoconnectivity, there’s no excuse to be offline when it comes to communication. Connecting with journalists via social media has a number of advantages, such as learning about their personal interests, keeping up-to-date on upcoming events, and not to mention avoiding awkward silences that face-to-face meetings can bring.
Share your resource
The golden rule of ‘sharing is caring’ can be useful for journalists who desperately need content. When building relationships, offering resources and connections outside of your own workload can earn you a spot in their good books. By offering a subject-matter expert for a topical interview, you are responding to the needs of the journalist rather than pitching a specific PR story.
Utilise data to elevate your pitch
The best way to launch your story from boring blah to noteworthy news is by going back to basics and adding statistics, data and results. Journalists are inundated with emails and what is likely to garner their attention is an angle that highlights evidence that is new, shocking or debunked. Not only will this add validity to your story, but journalists are likely to come to you for the tea first!
Give them space (and time!)
Too often PR practitioners are fixated on getting their story out there and forget that journalists are humans, too! Don’t be disheartened if you don’t receive a response immediately and avoid following-up too frequently as this will likely bug them.
While following these tips will help you strengthen your relationships with journalists, at the end of the day there is no one-size-fits-all approach. You must always be evolving and adapting the way you interact with media. But above all else remember – it’s a two way relationship!